Sci-Fi and Fantasy Comfort Reads
Updated: Feb 4
Is anyone else's 2023 getting off to a bit of a rocky start?
Even if your year is off to a kickass start, I feel like it's the season for comfort reads. It's cold outside and dark all the time, and, dammit, we need some comfort from somewhere!
So, I thought I'd share my list of top comfort reads in the fantasy and sci-fi genres. That way, anyone else who is having a bit of a tough start to the new year can reference this list and pick up a book that will make them laugh or feel like they've just sipped a cozy cup of tea.
Let's dive in.
What Makes a Comfort Read?
Let me clarify before I get started: YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY WITH THESE.
Everyone has different things they find comforting. Some of these books are wholesome through and through, but others are action-packed, maybe even a bit tragic.
But MJ, why the fuck would you consider a tragic story a comfort read?
Experiencing emotions can be comforting, even if they're not wholly pleasant. Also, for me, books are all about the characters. If a book has characters that make me feel like I'm at home, then I'm likely to consider the book a comforting read, even if the story gets a bit tense.
WITH ALL THAT SAID, here's a few of my favorite comfort reads and why I love them.
Related Read: Most Anticipated 2023 Sci-Fi / Fantasy Releases
Legends and Lattes, Travis Baldree
If you've been on the internet in the past few months, chances are you've heard of Legends and Lattes. If you haven't picked it up yet, maybe it's time!
The story follows an orc warrior who retires from her mercenary lifestyle to open a small-town coffee shop. The stakes are small, the characters wholesome and lovable, and the story compelling.
All in all, the book feels like reading a hug!
Kings of the Wyld, Nicholas Eames
Eames's Kings of the Wyld follows a mercenary band past their prime heading out for one last job as a crew.
The story isn't necessarily wholesome, but the characters are wonderful, and it's one of the funniest books I've ever read.
If you're looking for a read that is a great time and a book filled with nostalgic 1970's music references, check this one out for sure.
Redwall, Brian Jacques
Were you a Redwall kid in your youth? I absolutely was. These books feature mice, hares, and badgers teaming up to fight forces of evil made up of rats and weasels.
This book is a comfort read partially just because I first read it when I was about ten years old, but it also makes the cut because the message is that the good guys always win the day, which is a comforting message in tough times.
Also, the feast descriptions in these books are fucking legendary. Top-tier fantasy food descriptions right here.
Related Read: In Appreciation of Avatar: The Last Airbender
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, Becky Chambers
You remember the TV show Firefly? Wanna read something with those vibes, except even more wholesome? Check out The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet.
This book follows a crew of assorted aliens and humans on a long space voyage. The plot is definitely there, but it's one of those books where plot takes a backseat to the characters, and I didn't mind that at all.
I can't remember who said it, but I once heard someone say this book was about "people caring about each other in space." That descriptor couldn't be more accurate. Read this one if you want to regain some faith in people.
The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch
This is a book about some very morally gray people. The main characters in The Lies of Locke Lamora are all rogues and thieves - definitely not the kinds of characters you'd expect to be comforted by.
However, this book is filled with witty banter, spellbinding twists and turns, and some really lovely friendships and relationships, all of which make it delightful to read despite some of the darker elements.
Also, I first read this book as a sophomore in high school and reading it makes me think of simpler times.
Fire Bringer, David Clement-Davies
Lastly, Fire Bringer by David Clement-Davies! Don't go into this book thinking "Oh, it's about a deer, and MJ said it was a comfort read. I bet nothing terrible happens in this book at all!"
Wrong. There's like, deer-on-deer genocide and religious sacrifice and all other manner of horrible things in this book. But similar to Redwall, the vibe is that the good guys with good hearts win the day.
Also, I read this book as a small kiddo, and nostalgia takes me back to days when recess was still a thing for me every time I read it.
Curl Up with a Comfort Read
Those are some of my favorite books to read and reread when I'm going through it. What are some of your favorite comfort reads? What makes them so comforting to you?
Also, if your speed of comfort read allows for some darker themes and elements, as long as they're splashed with a healthy dose of humor and fun, check out my book, Among Thieves! It follows a team of thieves on an impossible heist... while each member of the crew is secretly planning their own betrayal.
Check out my book club materials!
May the best thief win!